WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is proposing to allow year-round sales of gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol, seeking to calm a dispute between the oil industry and corn farmers.
The proposal Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency fulfills a pledge that President Donald Trump made to U.S. corn farmers, who see ethanol as an important driver of demand for their crops.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued the following statement on the proposal:
“This proposed rule is a huge victory for Iowa farmers and the ag economy as it keeps the process moving forward to expand the use of E15 to year round. I commend EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and President Trump for following through on their promise to get a year-round E15 proposal done by this summer. We look forward to submitting comments and continuing to engage in the process to bring the final rule over the finish line by June 1st. Iowa is the country’s number one producer of ethanol, and this announcement brings greater stability to our ag economy.”
Oil refineries have been seeking exemptions from government requirements to include ethanol in their fuel mixes. The dispute between the industry and farmers and lawmakers from Midwest states sparked a billboard campaign and at least one tractor rally in the Midwest last year. Beyond increasing the amount of ethanol allowed in vehicle fuel, the EPA is proposing regulatory changes in the ethanol program.
Environmental groups say they expect court challenges.
Curt Mether, president of The Iowa Corn Growers Association, issued the following statement on Tuesday’s developments:
“The Iowa Corn Growers Association® (ICGA) is excited to hear the EPA released the proposed rule of permitting year-around sales of E15. This moves the rule in the right direction in hopes it is ready by the summer driving season beginning June 1. Year-round E15 sales would be a win for Iowa corn farmers and Iowa drivers. We need to better understand the language included about Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) and the impact that it would have to our farmers. We will review the details and will be asking our leaders and ICGA members to engage on the rule making.”
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